WASHINGTON (SBG) - Tens of thousands of Afghan allies who served side by side with U.S. soldiers for more than 20 years are now stuck in Afghanistan.
"People are terrified. We're constantly receiving pleas of help from allies on the ground, from women, from folks here in the U.S. that are worried sick about their family that are in Afghanistan," said President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services Krish Vignarajah to The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat.
While 2,000 Afghan allies have been evacuated to the U.S., Vignarajah says what keeps her up at night are the 80,000 who are still in harm's way.
“The Department of Defense has said that they expect to move 5,000 to 10,000 people per day. And we have complete confidence in our military's ability to swiftly get them out, but we still believe that there needs to be swift action taken to save thousands of lives,” said Vignarajah.
Vignarajah says that the Taliban are controlling the streets, “including those leading to the airport.”
In an address Monday night, President Joe Biden attributed the delay in relocating some Afghan allies to them not wanting to leave initially.
“Some of the Afghans did not want to leave earlier, still hopeful for their country,” said Biden. “The Afghan government and its supporters discouraged us from organizing a mass exodus to avoid triggering, as they said, a crisis of confidence.”
But Vignarajah says that in general, that’s not been her experience
“For the years that we've worked with Afghan allies, it's clear that they know the threats they face and have been eager to get safety,” said Vignarajah. “We knew they were desperate, and we knew the time was running out.”
The singular focus of the military should be evacuating both allies and American citizens, said Vignarajah.
“American citizens are in this very same boat,” said Vignarajah.